This nOde last updated July 29th, 2002 and is permanently morphing...
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Diaspora (dė-āsīper-e) noun
1. The dispersion of Jews outside of Israel from the sixth century B.C., when the Jews were exiled to Babylonia, until the present time.
2. Often diaspora. The body of Jews or Jewish communities outside Palestine or modern Israel.
3. diaspora. A dispersion of an originally homogeneous people.
4. diaspora. A dispersion of an originally homogeneous entity, such as a language or a culture: "the diaspora of English into several mutually incomprehensible languages" (Randolph Quirk).
[Greek diaspora, dispersion, from diaspeirein, to spread about : dia-, apart. DIA- + speirein, to sow, scatter.]
by Greg Egan
Mass Market Paperback - (November 1999) 400 pages
In the 30th century, few humans remain on Earth. Most have downloaded themselves into robot bodies or solar-system-spanning virtual realities, escaping death--or so they believe, until the collision of nearby neutron stars threatens life in every form.
Diaspora, written by Hugo Award and John W. Campbell Memorial Award winner Greg Egan, transcends millennia and universes in the tradition of Poul Anderson's _TauZero_, Bruce Sterling's _Schismatrix Plus_, Camille Flammarion's _Omega_, and Olaf Stapledon's _Last and First Men_. Diaspora is packed with mind-bending ideas extrapolated from cutting-edge cosmology, physics, and consciousness theory to create an astonishing hard-SF novel inhabited by very strange yet always believable characters.
The New York Times Book
Review, Gerald Jonas
This is science fiction with an emphasis on science.
One thousand years from now, most of humankind expresses itself as conscious software, although sentient robots and a remnant of Homo sapiens called fleshers are also present. Unknown forces threaten the existence of the fleshers, and Yatima, the central consciousness in Egan's novel, seeks answers. Yatima can assume "ancestral form" but has no gender. Egan even invents personal pronouns--ve and the possessive ver--to refer to Yatima. Yatima was born in an elaborately concentric expression of DNA, and the universe is flying apart in a similar, elaborately concentric fashion. Yatima explores worlds and myriad dimensions in an ever-expanding search for the Transmuters, an ancient, mostly incorporeal race whose search for knowledge explains the diaspora. Yatima at last discovers the Transmuters, dispersed in a high dimension much like the Milky Way, and thus returns the novel to its beginning, suggesting that what is always was. The general reader may find this tough going, but Egan's speculations, brilliantly extrapolated from current science, are a physicist's delight. John Mort
From Kirkus Reviews , January
This mind-boggling far-future yarn should help awaken America to the formidable talents of Australia resident Egan (Distress, p. 596). By the year 2975, most humans exist only as digital electronic personalities in underground virtual-reality cyber- cities. A tiny minority, the gleisners, occupy robot bodies and insist on real-time physical interaction with the universe, and equally rare are the ``fleshers,'' who survive in enclaves on the Earth's surface. The nongendered orphan Yatima on Konishi polis temporarily occupies an abandoned gleisner body in order to bring bad news to the fleshers Orlando and Liana. The Moon-based gleisner Karpal has studied the inexplicable behavior of a pair of neutron stars that, contrary to all theory, are colliding and whose gamma- ray pulse will destroy Earth's atmosphere and make flesher life impossible. But the fleshers decide to struggle on regardless, and only Orlando is saved. By 3015, the Earth is dying, and the gleisners have launched a fleet of interstellar craft. Yatima creates the Forge group to examine the feasibility of wormhole technology. After a millennium of effort, wormhole technology proves a failure, so the polis uses its nanotechnology to create a thousand clones of itself and send them off at sublight speeds to explore the galaxy. And this is just the beginning of an amazing odyssey that will see Yatima, Orlando, and friends make aliencontact, devise new cosmological theories, and pursue the mysterious Transmuters into a series of higher-dimension macrosphere universes. Vast in scope, episodic, complex, and utterly compelling: a hard science-fiction yarn that's worth every erg of the considerable effort necessary to follow.
Science Fiction Weekly
"Immensely ambitious, intellectually exhilarating.Greg Egan is perhaps the most important SF writer in the world."
"One of the very best "
The boldest and most wildly speculative writer of our time, Greg Egan has envisioned a quantum Brave New World-a masterful saga of a time when not only human life, but fleshly reality itself, will be nothing but a memory...
It is the thirtieth century. The "world" has evolved into a vast network of probes, satellites, and servers knitting the solar system into one scape from the outer planets to the sun. Humanity, too, has reconfigured itself. Most people have chosen immortality, joining the polises to become conscious software. Others have opted for disposable, renewable robotic bodies that remain in contact with the physical world. A few holdouts stubbornly remain fleshers struggling to shape an antiquated existence in the muck and jungle of Earth.
And then there is the Orphan, a genderless digital being grown from a mind seed.
When an unforeseen disaster ravages the fleshers, it awakens the polises to the possibility of their own extinction from bizarre astrophysical processes that seemingly violate fundamental laws of nature. It is up to the Orphan and a group of refugees to find the knowledge that will save them all--a search that will lead them on a quantum adventure to a higher dimension beyond the macrocosmos....
Centuries into the future, when an unexpected and powerful radiation storm from a nearby supernova wipes out the remnants of "flesher" humanity, a group of adventurous digital intelligences sets out to explore the cosmos in search of other lifeforms and a safe haven from material dangers.
About the Author
Greg Egan is Australian by birth and lives there today. In addition to being a Science Fiction author he is a computer programmer.